Thursday, February 23, 2017

coming out.

Its been so long since I have felt any heartfelt enthusiasm or really looked forward to anything in life. On the surface it all seems so normal, I travel, meet old friends, organize meet ups, even 'parties'.  All is apparently well and good. I knew that I was somewhat depressed, but having struggled with moods and lows all my life, I thought it wasn't any more than usual. School days had been the worst , with suicidal phases lasting months, even years. Back then of course I didn't know of fancy names like a high functioning depressive. Plus there were enough circumstances that I could blame for my feeling low.

However lately, I had started 'coming out' to a few friends, avoiding the easy 'yep life is all good' and instead giving the longer , more complicated answer. Whats the point ? Maybe I was just tired of pretending.

Sometimes when you use the dreaded word 'depression', the generic , safe catchall, you find that other friends open up too. Just as your Facebook life had seemed perfect, and you had seemed like the well sorted , strong person, good parent, bla bla, but you weren't really, similarly they show their chinks too. And sometimes you learn some new way of coping they have used. Meditation apps, diet supplements, or just the relief of an honest conversation.

At other times, with friends who have never really been through anything of the sort, it gets harder to explain. When they try to 'reason' it out, how much you have going for you, how lucky you are, how you can't keep feeling sorry for yourself , have to snap out of it and move on.. it isn't as easy to explain. The 'ability to cope' doesn't really have a simple correlation with the hardship scale of the circumstances. What is the ability to cope really? Why is it that on some days a simple conversation with anyone seems terribly hard, although you may be going about your day looking perfectly normal. Why does grief strike suddenly , inexplicably, and you find yourself crying buckets for no good reason? Why do you feel nothing? or feel too much? or feel anxious? or feel paranoid? I have seldom felt anxious or paranoid, but having seen parents and close friends and family go through it , I come back to the same thing - you can't reason with these things, or explain them.

Some things help: good sleep, exercise, good food, family and friends, meditation, gratitude journals, coloring books, hobbies/enjoyable activities etc etc. Some things make it worse over the day, though they may give a momentary high: insomnia, sugar, Facebook and isolation, screens/virtual time in general, endless busyness trying to control the lives of others..

But knowing and doing are two hugely different things. Its a daily uphill struggle, and living close to the edge means small losses often tip you over.  


Gunjan said...

There are 2 types of mommies: 1 who like their children to go to school as much as possible and the other who like it when school declares too many/unplanned holidays.

I am of the first kind. I also feel rattled with 2 kids to take care of with hubby spending lot of weekday time away from home. However, my job brings in both madness (and rush in life too) and sanity.

I still don't understand what compelled you to leave your job. But I think a job does lot of good to get a balance in life.

Have you thought of blogging professionally? I think it can be a nice way of spending time on something of your interest and feel good about it too.

I know a friend who is passionate about finding new ways of teaching her daughter. She has started a blog on "How to prepare for Olympiad Tests". I shared her video on times tables tips too. You have such great writing skills which you could use in MANY ways.

I just hope you find your favorite way of balancing the mommy life with your own.

I think as the children grow it is lot more fun to teach them and explore books/concepts you may have not experienced in your childhood.

Be happy my friend

Tess said...

:) I am the first kind too !

I agree the job does have a lot of upsides, when I had left the job, the idea had been to take a sabbatical of sorts , maybe for 6 months or an year. Somehow circumstances didn't work out for the job return, and my motivation to get back kept falling, and some or the other crazy stuff kept happening with family.

Yes will work on balancing mommy life with my own, just need to find what my own life really is about.

Thanks for writing , it feels good to hear from old friends!

charlene said...

I loved this post, mostly because I can totally relate. I'm not sure how can I contribute, except to acknowledge that I understand your position, because I have been there.

I don't think its easy to explain depression to anyone, the magnitude and variance defers so much from episode to episode and person to person.

What I have personally gained from overcoming different episodes is that happiness and gratitude takes time and work. Sometimes its a lot harder to be happy but maybe its okay to be sad from time to time. K just told me today, that happiness is sought after by everyone, but the ones who succeed just choose to actively force themselves to focus on the good. Easier said that done, but totally worth a shot!

You bring great joy to my life, I hope our paths cross for longer the next time.

Love and warm smiles,

Tess said...

@Charlene - thank you for bearing witness, and for bringing much joy to my life as well! Yes, joy or even equanimity ( and not apathy) take hard work, I keep reminding myself.